Fashion Fair is aiming for a comeback. The nearly 40-year-old makeup company — whose heritage was built by catering to the color cosmetics needs of African-American women — is recalibrating with plans to reemerge as an industry leader in the ethnic beauty market.
Its newest offering, True Finish Refining Mineral Foundation, is said to be the brand’s “biggest launch in 20 years” and reflects its updated positioning. It hits counters this month.
“We heard from our users and people who may have walked away from the brand that they were rooting for it to come alive again,” said Clarisa Wilson, president of Fashion Fair, who noted that since 2008 the brand has been updating its look (the line is now housed in “chocolate metallic” packaging), revamping its positioning and reevaluating its merchandising and in-store services to reengage consumers. “Foundation is inherent in our brand and legacy and we [are focused on] making sure we stay relevant and continue to grow.”
True Finish, which is Fashion Fair’s first liquid mineral foundation to date and took four years to complete, is inspired by the union of beauty, mind and spirit. At the core of the new formula — which is available in 18 shades — is the promise of lightweight coverage suitable for a broad range of ethnic skin tones.
“Mineral is not new to beauty category, but when you are black, minerals have a tendency to be ashy or dull on the skin after a couple hours of wear,” said Wilson. “We looked at minerals that illuminate and enhance darker complexions.”
The foundations — which are fragrance, paraben and oil free — feature a proprietary technology said to protect and hydrate skin with the help of malachite, an antioxidant-rich semiprecious mineral.
“We didn’t have the right formula [in our portfolio] for someone looking for sheer coverage,” said Desirée Rogers, chief executive officer of the Johnson Publishing Co., which owns Fashion Fair, Ebony and Jet magazines, who added that True Match is also buildable. “It covers a larger spectrum because it is very forgiving. One shade can cover three tones.” According to Rogers, shade names like Honest Chocolate, Chic Cinnamon, Peaceful Pecan, Virtuous Truffle and Tenacious Topaz are intended to offer women a sense of playfulness.
The launch will be supported by a national print and digital advertising campaign featuring the bald and beautiful Amanda Nassali Kiggundu, who Rogers discovered working in a Starbucks in Los Angeles. For Rogers, Kiggundu, who is of Ugandan heritage, is perfect face to reflect the brand’s evolution.
“Amanda is a real person who represents the whole idea of the individual and the fact that everyone is beautiful,” said Rogers.
The ad campaign is scheduled to roll out in September magazines and can be found in Chicago area bus shelters as well as on Times Square’s storied Jumbotron.
According to Wilson and Rogers, the firm has been focused on not only reengaging the former Fashion Fair shopper but also introducing the brand to a new audience.
“We see grandmothers bringing their daughters who are bringing their daughters,” said Rogers. “We have a heritage long enough that there are three generations coming to the counter.”
Looking ahead, Rogers said Fashion Fair is poised to increase its international presence and social media engagement. Rogers also has plans to revamp Fashion Fair’s in-store merchandising units to reflect the “updated look and feel of the products.”
“We have to get right what we have and realize we have a lot of work to do on our existing locations,” said Rogers. “We have to make certain our clients are taken care of [before we activate] our strategic international strategy.”
True Finish — which industry sources believe could generate $10 million in its first year at retail — will be available at select stores including Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Bon-Ton, Belk and Dillard’s and on fashionfair.com for a $28 suggested retail price.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast